Alzheimer’s disease is a primary cause of death in the United States of America. Dubbed as a “silent killer”, it has been claiming the lives of millions of Americans who have been suffering from this disease. Alzheimer’s disease is just another common type of dementia. However, there are still several misconceptions about this disease.
Before we move on to the myth-busting, it’s important to know the facts. First, Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia that leads to memory loss. Second, as time passes, people with Alzheimer’s may experience personality changes. Third, they may also become more unaware of their environment until they require Alzheimer’s assisted living.
To combat misinformation about this disease, here are seven myths about Alzheimer’s disease that you should know.
1.) Only The Elderly Are Afflicted With Alzheimer’s
Most people think that Alzheimer’s is a disease that only affects older people, particularly those living after the age of 65. This is extremely untrue. Despite this, there is no clear information behind the heightening of susceptibility for Alzheimer’s as one grows old.
But, the facts stand that early-onset Alzheimer’s exists in 5% of people afflicted with the disease. So, as early as the age of 30, an individual can have Alzheimer’s disease already. It has also been reported that people who have Down syndrome may develop Alzheimer’s at an early age, with symptoms showing by their 40s.
Alzheimer’s symptoms are also not common for people as they age. While forgetfulness is normal, having poor judgment and bad decisions almost all the time and forgetting friends, family, and important information, is not. Losing track of events and time is not considered normal as well. You must consult with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
2.) When You’re Diagnosed With Alzheimer’s, Death is Nearing
While it’s true that there is no remedy for Alzheimer’s, it does not mean that diagnosis equates to a death sentence. Despite this disease being the 6th main cause of death in the United States, people still live from 4 to 8 years after diagnosis. In some cases, Alzheimer’s disease patients still live up to 20 years in Alzheimer’s assisted living.
In earlier years of diagnosis, the patient suffers mild memory loss, but symptoms progress to physical and mental incapacity as time passes. In patients with late-stage Alzheimer’s, breathing problems develop and the inability to eat or drink. These distressing symptoms are what cause fatalities.
3.) You Can Inherit Alzheimer’s
If one of your family members has Alzheimer’s disease, you may be fearing that you might develop it too. Unfortunately, this claim is somewhat true. Studies have shown that genetics contribute to Alzheimer’s. Although, more recent research has shown that there is a connection between lifestyle choices and health issues.
Issues such as head trauma, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease may be factors in getting Alzheimer’s. At the same time, researchers have discussed that healthy living may lessen the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease. This can be achieved with proper exercise and weight control as well as a nutritious diet.
4.) All Hope is Lost for People With Alzheimer’s
It is not the end for people with Alzheimer’s disease, even post-diagnosis. Learning how to live your best life every day is the secret to ensuring that patients stay active in life. Being diagnosed early and medicated may help patients.
Also, as an Alzheimer’s disease patient or their caregiver, joining support groups and adjusting life goals would help immensely. Patients can continue to enjoy life in nurturing environments for many years to come.
Even though there is no cure, treatments have been developed to help people with Alzheimer’s. Coping strategies have also been devised to help with behavioral symptoms. Currently, there are several clinical trials in drug and non-drug interventions.
5.) Both Men And Women Are at the Same Risk of Getting Alzheimer’s
Although both sexes can indeed get Alzheimer’s disease, most of the patients with Alzheimer’s are women. In the U.S., almost two-thirds of Americans diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are women. There are several suggestions as to why this is more common in women, but there are no sure answers yet.
So far, the collated connections are between the lack of estrogen after menopause and Alzheimer’s, which is currently being evaluated at the USC Memory and Aging Center.
6.) Dementia is The Same as Alzheimer’s Disease
People usually interchange the terms of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, but there is a stark difference. Dementia is the condition of impaired memory, thought processes, behavior, and reasoning. Meanwhile, Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia. These conditions are confused for one another because Alzheimer’s usually causes dementia and is more widely used.
Although, there are still other types of dementia. These include Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and vascular dementia.
7.) It is Possible to Prevent Alzheimer’s
There is no evidence yet for measures that have been proven to prevent Alzheimer’s. However, you can take action to lessen your risk for the disease. Fortunately, there are risk factors that are within your control. Particularly, following a healthy lifestyle through these steps:
- Control your high blood pressure.
- Ensure that your weight is healthy and within the normal BMI.
- Maintain physical and mental activity to proper levels.
- Avoid causing injuries to your head.
- Sleep at least seven to nine hours every night.
Also, remain vigilant about certain promotions regarding “Alzheimer’s cures.” Many websites offer this, promising that there is a cure for Alzheimer’s. But even though this information seems trustworthy, there is no scientific evidence to prove their claims. Currently, no known treatment exists for delaying, preventing, treating, and curing Alzheimer’s disease.
Before you take any supplements or treatments, it is best to consult your doctor. For now, all the world has are lab and imaging tests to see biological signs of Alzheimer’s in a living person. Doctors can now detect it earlier through blood tests such as measuring the levels of beta-amyloid, the protein that collects unnaturally in Alzheimer’s patients.
To further the fight against Alzheimer’s Disease, participating in clinical trials and studies may help. This allows researchers to improve their knowledge regarding diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. You can also offer help as a caregiver for people afflicted with the disease.